Treatment of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is a group of diseases caused by bacteria that affect the tissues and bone that support and anchor the teeth.  If left untreated, it can cause pain, swelling and bleeding of the gum tissues as well as loss of the bony structure that holds the teeth in place.

If you have been diagnosed with periodontal (gum) disease, the good news is that it often can be treated successfully.

The first nonsurgical step usually involves a special cleaning called scaling and root planing to remove plaque and tartar deposits on the tooth and root surface.  This procedure helps remove harmful bacteria and therefore allows gum tissue to heal and periodontal pockets to shrink. Local anesthetic is used to allow the patient to be comfortable during the procedure. The scaling and root planing treatment is usually completed in two separate visits.  This is sometimes referred to as a periodontal cleaning or a deep cleaning.

Dr. Mike, Dr. Darcie or one of our hygienists may recommend medications to help control infection and pain or to aid in healing. These medications could include a pill, a mouth rinse, or a substance that is placed directly in the periodontal pocket after scaling and root planing.

At the next visit following scaling and root planing, the hygienist checks the pocket depths between the teeth and gum to determine the effectiveness of the scaling and root planing.  At this point, most patients do not require any further active treatment, only preventative care referred to as periodontal maintenance.  In some cases, if the pockets are deep or the supporting bone loss is severe, surgery and/or a referral to a periodontist may be recommended.